Clutter around your home may feel nearly as ever-present as accumulating dust, (and by the way, clutter makes dusting much more challenging.) When you plan on spring cleaning this year, you may find it interesting to know this annual ritual harkens back to cultural and religious traditions.
In the 1800s, the biggest annual house cleaning took place in the spring because winter left every room in the house coated in soot and grime. The spring holidays Passover and Easter involve cleansing one’s home of certain foods and general house cleaning. In addition, the Persian New Year Nowruz traditionally involves cleaning (or "shaking the house"), among other activities. Humans aren’t bears that hibernate, however, cold gloomy days with shortened periods of sunlight don’t exactly promote bursts of energy, which also explains why cleaning in spring is an enduring tradition.
Clearing clutter may feel like an insurmountable task, but knowing where to start can make it much easier. Think about this – even if you give away one item a day, you’ll have 365 fewer items that add to clutter in one year! The following general tips can help you declutter countless objects collecting dust.
To avoid getting overwhelmed and giving up, try to declutter and organize your home one room at a time.
Bathroom: Take 20 minutes every three months to pull everything out of your bathroom cabinets and discard expired products. Then repeat with items stored inside your vanity that either expired or haven’t seen the light of day in years.
Bedroom: Store out of season clothes or accessories in storage bins under your bed. Remove unnecessary objects from nightstands and dressers and reserve the drawers for items you need regularly. Keep everything else in decorative bins or baskets. Organize remaining clothes in your closet by color, style, or both, and do the same thing with hall closets. Give away things you don’t wear or need to a worthy charitable cause.
Home office: Limit knick-knacks to a maximum of three per bookshelf, leaving at least 10% of the shelf bare for additional books you may purchase. Chargers, lamp cords, computer, and modem wires can become a cluttered mess that makes it nearly impossible to service should a problem arise. Secure wires in an easily accessible cable box to eliminate a tangled mess and make your office space prettier.
Living room: To achieve the look of a clutter-free living room, keep 75% of your coffee table free of objects. Place knick-knacks on trays that can easily be removed when guests visit.
When you consider how to organize clutter, don’t forget photographs stored in shoeboxes and old VHS tapes you haven’t watched in years. Start by purging duplicates, blurry shots, and tapes you’d never watch again even if they were converted to digital. Purging them before getting them professionally scanned will save you money and avoid digital clutter. Then decide which prints, negatives, slides, and VHS tapes are worth digitizing. Last, don’t forget to declutter thousands of digital images hogging space on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Bottom line… the best way to declutter a home is the method that works best for you!
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